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Match Previews

The Palace Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion

4 December 2018

Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace travel down to the south coast for the infamous M23 derby kicking off at 19.45 kick-off on Tuesday, looking to build on their recent league successes with a win over historic rivals Brighton and Hove Albion.

The two clubs, despite sitting 46 miles apart, have been close opposition for over 40 years now. This match, heightened by its stage in the Premier League, is therefore crucial to fans of both sides and often means more than just the three points on offer.

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Lately, the Eagles have enjoyed good form when playing Brighton, and are unbeaten in the league against them since 2013.

However, the Seagulls have been playing well this season and they currently sit 11th in the league. Like Palace, they have won and drawn their past two matches and have scored in every game since a league defeat to Manchester City at the end of September.

But in all of their last seven Premier League victories, Brighton have only won by a one-goal margin, with their last win by more than a goal coming in February against Swansea City. 

However, they are scoring frequently and the man netting the majority of their goals is former Palace forward Glenn Murray. Murray has scored seven times from 14 games this season, having spent four years with the Eagles from 2011-2015, being Palace’s top scorer in the 2012/13 season with 31 goals.

The 35-year-old was rested in Brighton's previous fixture against Huddersfield Town, coming on only in the 79th minute, and so Palace's defence will be keen to keep a close eye on him. It's in defence, however, where Hodgson's side find their key strength, as the Eagles have conceded three goals less than Brighton this campaign despite sitting three places behind.

During Murray's tenure with Palace, the Eagles enjoyed perhaps their most memorable victory of recent years when playing Brighton at the AMEX Stadium in the semi-finals of the Championship play-offs.

Following a 0-0 home draw in the first leg of the play-offs, Palace went on to win 2-0 in the following fixture to secure themselves a spot in the Championship play-off final where they would go on to beat Watford 1-0. It was the win against Brighton which earned the Eagles their shot at promotion to the country's top flight then, where they are now spending their ninth overall season in the Premier League.

Four years later, Brighton earned their first ever promotion to the Premier League and are now playing in just their second season.

Now, though, they sit six places ahead of Palace, who have begun to improve their league position with two results to be pleased with lately: a 0-0 draw with Manchester United and 2-0 win over Burnley, both games being matches which the Eagles could have recorded more favourable-looking results.

Elsewhere, fans will want to keep an eye on the West Ham United v Cardiff City game, which kicks off at the same time as Palace take on Brighton.

West Ham currently sit just one place in front of Hodgson's Eagles, with Cardiff two places behind - separated by one point. Palace's next game after Brighton will be against the Hammers at their London Stadium on Saturday, meaning the result of these two fixtures could affect their league standing quite significantly.

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Team news

Both Hodgson and Chris Hughton have a relatively wide range of choices available to them, as Palace have no injury concerns bar Christian Benteke, with Brighton being only without Alireza Jahanbakhsh. It will therefore be two near full-strength sides that face each other.

For everything else you'll want to know ahead of this match, head over to our full matchday guide; where you'll find live coverage details, the officials for the day, travel information and more.

Where next?

For the rest of your pre-match reading, why not check out all of the build-up to this derby with some of these other stories?

See what Palace manager Hodgson had to say ahead of today's game, as he discusses this 'significant' fixture and what it means to the fans. Or, if you're looking for things to watch, take a look either at our explanation of the rivalry, known by most but understood by far fewer, or the video of the Palace squad training hard in preparation.

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